RENTON, Wash. – Since Darryl Tapp started 16 games in 2007, the Seahawks have drafted another defensive end with a first-round pick – Lawrence Jackson in 2008 – and acquired another end who will likely start this season in Cory Redding.
But Tapp is still smiling, still cracking jokes – he starts an interview with his mouth guard still in, and when the reporter asks if he can take it out, a grinning Tapp says, “You’re a professional, you can handle it” – and, most importantly, still making plays.
“You’ve got to thrive on the competition,” he said. “Whenever you start getting comfortable, that’s when you get knocked off, both from an individual standpoint and as a team. If we keep working hard and pushing each other, things will work out.”
Tapp said the new defense, led by coordinator Gus Bradley, better suits his game by allowing him to get into the backfield and hunt down quarterbacks.
“We don’t have as many responsibilities,” he said. “In our old defense we had to do lots of reading and stuff, and now we can just pin our ears back and go. It’s like being in college again.”
Tapp’s new comfort level is showing in training camp. Throughout the first 11 days of camp, and especially in the past few days, he has been creating havoc in the backfield.
“One of the things I like about Tapp so far in camp is his relentless nature that he brings,” said defensive line coach Dan Quinn. “That’s only going to better our defense when more guys can hunt and do the things he’s doing. I’m impressed so far with the skills he’s bringing. … He’s had a good camp so far, I’m encouraged with what I’m seeing.”
Tapp can also keep smiling even as the team keeps adding ends because he knows that as a defensive lineman, he’ll play even if he’s not starting.
“He’s going to have a really, really important role on this defense whether it’s as a starter or a significant contributor as a third-down rusher, two-minute, base snaps,” Quinn said. “I just know there’s going to be a special spot for him by the way he’s working, the way he’s rushing. He’s going to be an important player for us, that’s for sure.”
Or as Tapp puts it: “We’ve got a great problem. We’ve got a lot of guys on the line that can make plays. We have a lot of guys that can go out there and do a lot of positive things, so they’re going to find ways to get us on the field.”
Asking for more
Justin Forsett decided he wanted another shot at Aaron Curry after the rookie linebacker beat him badly in a blitz-pickup drill.
Rather than rotate out, Forsett stayed put and motioned for Curry to come again, and the second-year running back ended up watching Curry blow by him again.
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